As part of investigations of the cellular uptake of apolipoprotein E (apoE) relevant to Alzheimer's disease we have found that different preparations of apoE are handled differently by cells expressing the LDL-receptor. Comparing recombinant, cellular and native apoE, complexed with different preparations of lipid we find that only cellular and native apoE enter a vesicular compartment. Some, but not all of these apoE containing vesicles are lysosomes. In order to further examine the intracellular fate of apoE we demonstrate that apoE-Enhanced green fluorescent protein chimeric protein can be taken up from medium by recipient cells and tracked within these cells for extended periods. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.